The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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August 17, 2013

2 bodies found in storage unit in Summersville

The remains of two people were discovered Wednesday at a Summersville storage company, but no arrest had been reported by State Police Friday evening.

Alabama authorities believe the remains could be those of two women missing from there since 2000.

State Police Sgt. R.D. Lilly of the Summersville detachment in Nicholas County declined Friday to identify the suspect in the case but said he hopes to file charges “in the very near future.”

Lilly said, the owner of Stor-All storage company on Broad Street contacted police to report what appeared to be a human leg inside a unit into which he looked because the door was unsecured.

“He saw what he believed to be a human leg, but he wasn’t sure,” Lilly said. “He told us he didn’t know if it was animal or human ... but as soon as we saw it, we knew. There was no question.”

After obtaining search warrants, troopers discovered the decomposed

remains of two humans, Lilly reported.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office removed the remains to Charleston for identification, and Alabama authorities were in Charleston Friday to assist in identifying the bodies, he added.

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Walker County, Ala., prosecuting attorney Bill Adair said Friday that his office is investigating a case involving a mother and daughter who disappeared from Jasper, Ala., in winter 2000.

Sgt. Lilly said that the home of Wanda Faye Kiser, 61, of Summersville, was searched in July by Alabama investigators, Lilly and Cpl. D.P. White and that the Alabama authorities questioned Kiser about the disappearance of Mary Cobb and her daughter, Wynona Delvecchio.

“They didn’t discover anything,” Lilly reported. “They didn’t gain any new information, at that point, on the missing persons case that they were working.”

Kiser was indicted in Alabama in July on 17 counts of forgery for allegedly cashing Cobb’s railroad retirement benefits and Delvecchio’s alimony checks, officials reported.

She had already served three years’ probation after a federal judge in West Virginia found her guilty in 2005 of wire fraud in receiving Cobb’s railroad benefits, according to Adair. She was also ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution to the United States Railroad Retirement Board, according to court documents.

According to Alabama officials, their case began in January 2000 when Delvecchio was living next door to Kiser in a middle-class subdivision in Jasper, Ala.

 Delvecchio’s mother was staying at the Shadecrest Health Care Center, a nursing home in nearby Mobile, Ala.

When Delvecchio, who was reported to be in her 80s, fell in 2000 and broke her ankle, Kiser discovered her.

 Delvecchio’s doctors placed Delvecchio temporarily at the same nursing home as her mother.

Two or three weeks into Delvecchio’s stay at Shadecrest, Alabama police alleged, Delvecchio checked herself out of the home, with the help of Kiser.

Within a week, Delvecchio had checked Cobb out of the nursing home.

Neither of the women has been seen since then, Alabama official sources reported.

The case became a missing persons case in June 2003, when an investigator with the United States Railroad Retirement Board tried unsuccessfully to contact Cobb.

Alabama authorities learned of Kiser’s arrest on the wire fraud charges through federal agents. When Adair became prosecuting attorney, he re-opened the investigation into women’s disappearances and enlisted the help of West Virginia State Police to charge Kiser with the 17 forgery charges related to cashing Cobb’s retirement checks and Delvecchio’s alimony checks.

Currently, Alabama officials said, Kiser is fighting extradition to Alabama on the forgery charges.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has formally requested that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin extradite Kiser back to Walker County, Adair said.  

—  E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com

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